The new Star Apartments for the Skid Row Housing Trust transformed an existing one-story commercial building in downtown Los Angeles into a mixed-used complex with 102 apartments for formerly homeless individuals. The LEED for Homes Platinum development, located at 6th Street and Maple Avenue along the border of Skid Row, sets a new model for urbanism and increased density by adding new community spaces and residential levels above.
A MIXED-USE MODEL FOR LIVING
The six-story, 95,000 sf building expands upon the Skid Row Housing Trust’s model of providing permanent supportive housing within the downtown core by incorporating a new type of shared public space within the building. Star Apartments is organized around three principal spatial zones stacked one upon the other: a public health zone at street level; a second level for community and wellness programs; and four terraced floors of residences above. The building includes an onsite medical clinic, a 15,000 square foot Health and Wellness Center, and the new headquarters of the LA County Department of Health Services’ (DHS) Housing for Health Division.
PREFABRICATION & SUSTAINABILITY
Not only is the integration of social services, community recreational facilities, and residential units a unique building program, but the project utilizes an innovative new construction methodology. Faced with a limited budget and tight schedule the design team determined that prefabricated modules lifted into place over the existing podium would help provide a higher quality of construction, meet tighter construction tolerances, accelerate construction time, and accomplish the project’s ambitious sustainability goals. Star Apartments is the first mixed-use, multi-unit residential project for formerly homeless individuals employing this construction method in Los Angeles.
Photos: Iwan Baan
LOCATION / Los Angeles, California
TYPE / Affordable Housing, Social Services Counseling, Community Activities, Market-Rate Retail
SIZE / 95,000 sf
STATUS / Completed 2014
LEED STATUS / LEED for Homes Platinum
ROLE / Design Architect & Architect of Record
COST / $19.3 million
AWARDS / American Architecture Award Chicago Athenaeum, Museum of Architecture and Design, 2016; Mies Crown Hall America’s Prize (MCHAP) Finalist, 2016; AIA, Los Angeles Residential Architecture Design Award, 2016; b AIA, Los Angeles Architecture Design Honor Award, 2015; U.S. Green Building Council Outstanding Affordable Housing Project, 2015; AIA, California Council Architecture Design Honor Award, 2015; Los Angeles Business Council Architectural Award, 2012; AIA Next LA Design Award, 2012